Marc Dunleavy

Marc Dunleavy / News / Tue 28 Apr 2020

Happy Lock-down Birthday Yorkshire Wind Orchestra!

Happy Lock-down Birthday Yorkshire Wind Orchestra!

Yorkshire Wind Orchestra is 25 years old this year. A celebratory concert, with special guests the Great Yorkshire Chorus, was scheduled for 16 May. In light of the current lockdown, they were both very disappointed to have to cancel.

Embracing current restrictions, the orchestra felt it would be fitting to commemorate their anniversary by making a lock-down recording of Happy Birthday. Several arrangements of Happy Birthday exist but they wanted something that better reflected YWO's personality and style so asked the musical director, Keiron Anderson, to write something new.

The orchestra is using the recording to benefit those who are working on the front line during the COVID crisis and aims to raise £625 for the Yorkshire Ambulance Service Charity by the concert date - 16 May. The YASC is part of the NHS Charities Together emergency Covid-19 response fund.

Over a couple of weeks, 39 members of the orchestra recorded their individual parts on their mobile phones ready to be combined into a final video. But there was a snag - the orchestra’s timpani were locked away in the rehearsal venue in Wakefield. However, an orchestra member spotted someone local playing timpani in another lock-down video and, following a cheeky email, Mark Wagstaff, percussionist with Opera North, agreed to record the timpani part.

The final video has been edited and mixed - by Ricardo Lacombe - and is available on social media and on our website. Any help to reach our fundraising goal would be greatly appreciated.

Watch the birthday video and donate to the Yorkshire Ambulance Service Charity through the orchestra’s website:

If you play in an ensemble and would like a PDF copy of the arrangement - also available for other combinations of instruments - in exchange for a donation to the charity, contact Then share your recordings and pass the charity message on!

In Keiron’s own words: “I wanted to write a special piece of music for the 25th anniversary concert and wrote The Price of Feeling which is finished and published. Sadly, our concert has been postponed and it seemed like a good idea to arrange Happy Birthday in a lively and energetic way to allow the players to play it remotely.

It’s just the right length for hand washing and hopefully it’ll bring people together. Every day is someone’s birthday so enjoy it and support our charity.”

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